It's possible that the next time you enter a concert hall, it would be for your COVID-19 vaxx.
Over the past year and a half, people have been forced to stay indoors, wear masks, and physically distance to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. That meant zero live shows, zero in-person contact. The closest thing anyone had to the concert experience was by setting one up at home, casting a ticketed show on TV, and enjoying it with friends over Zoom.
But it's time to move toward our next step—herd immunity. Once we all get enough protection from COVID-19, life will get a little easier. We'll get to experience live concerts at real venues outside our homes like we used to. It just takes a little bit of signing up, waiting for your schedule, and getting the jab.
Here are five concert venues in Metro Manila that have been converted into COVID-19 vaccination sites:
SMART Araneta Coliseum
The SMART Araneta Coliseum a.k.a The Big Dome has housed the country's biggest and memorable shows, games, and matches dating back to the early '60s. If its walls could talk, imagine all the stories it has to share!
It would probably tell you some crazy stuff that went down behind the scenes at Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier's legendary Thrilla in Manila match. It might even reminisce the moment when Nicole Scherzinger cried in the midde of 'Stickwitu' at the Pussycat Dolls' first visit to Manila. It might even laugh at the memory of thousands of metalheads moshing in the general admission area of the Dome as Korn tore the stage to 'Freak on a Leash'.
When getting the COVID-19 vaccine finally became a reality here in the Philippines, the Araneta Coliseum became the first "mega" vaccination site in Cubao. There they aimed to administered 1,000-1,500 jabs daily, so we could all get a little closer to days when we could catch pop icons and rockstars hit the stage once again.
New Frontier Theater
Just a few strides away from the SMART Araneta Coliseum is the New Frontier Theater—which for a time between 2015-2018 was known as the Kia Theatre.
It was here where Phoenix struck hearts with rainbows, Dream Theater filled its floors with metalheads, Carly Rae Jepsen held a party for thousands, Gary Valenciano introduced the next generation of artists to thousands of fans, Unique made a stand as a solo artist with The Grandma Tour, and Mike Shinoda transported Manila back to 2000 for the ultimate Hybrid Theory throwback.
After staying still with the lack of shows, the New Frontier Theater was converted into a COVID-19 vaccination hub for Quezon City residents in late June. Medical volunteers came to help manage the inoculation process and deliver 1,000-1,500 jabs per day.
When you'd head out to the SM Skydome in SM North EDSA for a show, one of the first things you probably consider is where to eat before or after the gig. There are so many options (it also helps that it's literally outside a mall), so it's impossible to go hungry or lose your friends in the crowd.
It seems like only yesterday pop-punk and heavy metal fans would line up around Skydome to catch the likes of Pierce the Veil, Sleeping with Sirens, The Maine, Mayday Parade, Killswitch Engage, Children of Bodom, Periphery, Silverstein, Thrice, and Bring Me the Horizon rule the stage.
As part of Quezon City's initiative to vaccinate as many of its residents quickly, SM Skydome has also been used as a vaccination site and a pickup point for financial assistance.
Samsung Hall sits pretty on top of SM Aura in Taguig City. Just like SM Skydome, Samsung Hall is also surrounded by a lot of restaurants in an al fresco environment, where you could hang around before or after after a show. While it's a lot younger than other major concert venues in the Metro, the 1,000-seater has been the setting of numerous chants, strums, and drum solos.
It was on these floors where Sungha Jung wowed Filipino audiences and proved that daily practice could truly make you a better guitar player. Speaking of guitars, Extreme also performed in this hall to melt faces with Nuno Bettencourt's power to shred. Samsung Hall was also converted into an intimate spot for pop-punk rockers who lived and breathed everything from Never Shout Never, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, and Nick Santino. In 2016, Japanese band toe filled up the entire venue for the ultimate post-rock dream.
These days, Samsung Hall opens its doors as an operational vaccination hub. As the seventh vaxx center in the city, they cater to at least 1,000 residents on the daily as part of Taguig's efforts to reach herd immunity against the coronavirus.
Taking over its legacy as a horse race track until 2008, the riverfront site of Circuit Makati has turned into an outdoor venue for concerts, fashion shows, and sporting events.
It was at Circuit Makati where music fans witnessed Karpos' multi-artist festival Wanderland grow into the massive experience it is now known for.
Makati residents may now take a deep breath and feel a sense of relief as the venue stands as a vaccination hub in the city. With Vax On The Go, Circuit Makati opens its car park area as a drive-thru inoculation site, which prioritizes persons with disabilities and bedridden individuals.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine and how you can register to receive it, visit the official DOH website or call DOH at (02)849 COVID or 1555, open to all callers nationwide.